Dark Christianity
dark_christian
.::: .::..:.::.:.

May 2008
        1 2 3
4 5 6 7 8 9 10
11 12 13 14 15 16 17
18 19 20 21 22 23 24
25 26 27 28 29 30 31

Dominonism Found and Challenged (?):

LJ-SEC: (ORIGINALLY POSTED BY [info]friarjohn)

Church leaders come forward to defend call for IRS audit
Thursday, January 26, 2006
Joe Hallett
THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH
Picture (Metafile)
SHARI LEWIS | DISPATCH

The Rev. Eric Williams says more pastors are joining a call for an IRS investigation of the political activities of two local churches.
Religious leaders who accused two evangelical pastors of illegally playing politics came forward yesterday and reaffirmed their decision to challenge the tax-exempt status of the pastors’ churches.

Arrayed around the pulpit at the North Broadway United Methodist Church in Columbus, 22 of 31 pastors who originally filed the complaint with the Internal Revenue Service gathered for a news conference to defend their rare and explosive action. Yesterday, the ranks of signers grew to 33.
And the Rev. Eric Williams, senior pastor of the North Congregational United Church of Christ in Columbus, said at least two dozen more ministers from Ohio and across the nation have asked to have their names added to the complaint seeking an IRS investigation into the political activities of the Rev. Rod Parsley, of World Harvest Church in Columbus, and the Rev. Russell Johnson, of Fairfield Christian Church in Lancaster.

“We come from different traditions, we come perhaps from different theological points of view, we come from different experiences, but we all come together around this one single concern,” Williams said, referring to the pastors representing nine Judeo-Christian denominations.

The pastors want the IRS to determine whether the two evangelical megachurches headed by Parsley and Johnson, along with three affiliated organizations, should lose their tax-exempt status for participating in partisan politics.

The complaint alleges numerous instances in which the churches promoted conservative Secretary of State J. Kenneth Blackwell, a Republican candidate for governor, at religious events, in voter-registration drives and in educational materials.

Until yesterday, only about nine of the complaining pastors — whom Johnson labeled “an unholy alliance” — had been identified. But they revealed themselves yesterday under pressure from the public and Parsley, who last week called them the “anonymous 31.” The pastors said they acted as individuals and not on behalf of their churches.

The Rev. David W. Meredith of the United Methodist Church said “there was never any intention to keep our names secret” and it was difficult to assemble “very busy clergy” for a public event.

In a statement released last night, Parsley said, “I welcome the news that the liberal clergy members who filed these baseless allegations against us have decided to publicly identify themselves. We’ve been praying for these clergy since all this began and we look forward to the opportunity to pray for them by name.”

He said the pastors’ allegations are untrue and that “all clergy have the right in America to speak out on moral issues as spiritual leaders in the community, within the guidelines of federal tax laws.”

Parsley said if the pastors had come to him personally, “rather than air their grievances in the media, we certainly would have quickly put their fears to rest.”

But the Rev. John Edgar, of the United Methodist Church, said, “It’s not a conversation about whether or not we should have gone to Pastor Parsley ahead of time. It’s about whether or not there’s a violation of the IRS code . . . Clearly, there are significant violations. They knew it and the person they were helping (Blackwell) is someone who should have enforced the laws that were being broken.”

Most of the pastors who assembled yesterday said they have told their congregations they signed the complaint and were overwhelmingly supported.

“When I told my congregation on Sunday during our worship service, there was a round of spontaneous applause,” said the Rev. Kim Keethler Ball, of the American Baptist Church.

“As American Baptists, one of our core values, like the other traditions here, is that we value separation of church and state. For us, this issue falls in that realm and, precisely, (in the complaint) the issue is running a political campaign from church for a particular candidate.”

The Rev. Lee Anne Reat, of the Episcopal Church, said she told her congregants she signed the complaint during her sermon Sunday.

“I talked about the need for a broader voice to be heard in the religious domain: a voice that takes into account the freedoms that we enjoy as Americans and the freedoms that we enjoy as people of faith — freedoms that were an original gift from God. The response from my congregation was that there were a lot of tears, tears of pride. They are very much in support of the action that this group has taken. We stand proudly as people of faith, not an unholy alliance.”

The Rev. Eric H. Brown, of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), said the complaint documented numerous instances when Parsley and Johnson used their organizations to “showcase” Blackwell, who gained support from many religious conservatives after he led the successful 2004 ballot initiative to ban samesex marriages in Ohio.

Featuring Blackwell and no other candidates creates an impression among congregants, Brown said, that “if it looks like the pastor of the church is endorsing a candidate, (then) God must be on that candidate’s side (and) you better vote for that candidate.”

But spokesmen for two of Blackwell’s rivals for governor have confirmed that Parsley and Johnson invited them to some of their events.

Liks provided by yours truly.

From:
Identity URL: 
Username:
Password:
Don't have an account? Create one now.
Subject:
No HTML allowed in subject
  
Message: